Cape Argus

Mthalane hits it big in Japan


MORUTI Mthalane is a technical master, but it was his heart that carried him through a rugged second defence of his IBF flyweight world championsh­ip title against Masayuki Koroda in Japan last night.

The little genius from KwaZuluNat­al overcame a low-key start to finish strongly, dominating the final four rounds to unanimousl­y sweep the score cards 116-112, 116-112 and 117-111.

In triumphing against the top contender, “Baby Face” solidified himself as the top campaigner in the division, leading him to call out rival WBC champion Charlie Edwards for a unificatio­n showdown.

Mthalane, pictured, was able to overcome a hostile crowd, who packed out the famous Korakuen Hall. The Japanese brought his best game and applied pressure from beginning to end. His body-punching was outstandin­g, but he lacked the accuracy of Mthalane, whose counter-punching was razorsharp.

Time and again he rocked Kuroda on his heels.

The South African busted up his opponent’s face early in the fight and by the start of the 12th, blood was pouring from around both eyes of the challenger.

Mthalane himself was stunned by a big right hand in the 11th, but other than that he was well in control against a boxer who rose to the occasion.

Fighting from behind a high guard, he repeatedly whipped in punches and was never better than when he let his hands go and landed combinatio­ns.

Even at 36, his work rate is impeccable.

There were few complaints from the gracious challenger, whose bruised and bloodied features eloquently told the story of the fight.

“I watched the videos, but he was better than ever,” said an exhausted Mthalane.

“I’m glad I prepared well and had the fight to beat him.”

 ??  ?? MORUTI Mthalane.
MORUTI Mthalane.

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